Posts made in February 22nd, 2012

open-face hummus tuna melt


Posted on Feb 22, 2012 in Food

I only had one true spring break experience in college. It was my Freshman year, and my roommate and I bummed a ride to Ft. Lauderdale with a guy she knew from one of her classes. He was going with 10 or so of his closest friends from high school and they had seats in a car and an open fold-out couch. Even though they barely knew us, adding two more people meant two more people to split gas money and the cost of the lodging. It was something that was definitely out of my comfort zone. I knew no one (other than my roommate) and had certainly never been to spring break before. At that point, I was still incredibly self-conscious and hadn’t quite come out of my shell. I was terrified. On top of that, I only had about $200 to my name and had to spread it out over the whole week. But after some convincing, I found myself in the backseat of someone’s grandmother’s pale blue Ford Taurus with three complete strangers.

Our plan was to leave Indiana in the afternoon and drive all night. We made our first stop at a Steak ‘n’ Shake somewhere in Tennessee for dinner. All of us piled in and inundated some poor high school server with our orders. I remember being so terrified of blowing through my limited cash supply that I ordered the cheapest thing I could find on the menu. I don’t remember what it was, but I remember that I was elated because I only spent $6. But then our orders came and someone near me had ordered the ever-pricey tuna melt. It looked so delicious and my cheap-o dinner paled in comparison. It turned into a spiral of self-hate (18-year-old me was easily triggered into a hate spiral). Why don’t I have more money? Why am I not rich like these other kinds? Why am I not better at managing my money? Why am I getting so upset over a stupid tuna melt? Why am I with these strangers? What if they hate me? Why am I so annoying?

Blah-te-blah. So on and so on. Tuna melts have a strange effect on me, apparently.

I ended up sulking through the rest of dinner and all the way into Georgia (note: I was then, and still am, a bit of drama queen). I eventually came out of my pit of self-hate, and the rest of the trip went fine. I strapped on a bathing suit and had some fun. I didn’t meet any life-long friends, but we all got along well enough and I got to be on the beach in March, which is the whole point. And my money lasted the whole time. I was so stuck in this place of self-doubt and anxiety that it could have ruined this rite-of-passage-kind-of trip. Even now, it’s sad that the dinner in that Steak ‘n’ Shake in Tennessee is the memory that is the absolute clearest to me from that trip.  Out of a week on the beach with other young people, nothing else stands out above my self-doubt (and no, it wasn’t because everything is fuzzy and we were drinking, all of us were sober the entire trip actually).

Anytime I make a tuna melt, it reminds me of how far I’ve come. I’m not the girl who lets little things spiral me into a self-hate. And I’m certainly not the girl that let’s self-doubt ruin great experiences (or at least I try not to). I now see the humor in the fact that I let a greasy, 900 calorie sandwich (!) trigger me. I’m so different from the me of 10 years ago.

Wow, deep story for a post about a freakin’ tuna melt, eh?

Enough of that. Sandwich time! Babyface had a moment of genius last week when he decided to use hummus in place of mayo in a tuna salad. I took this idea and ran with it! I created a flavorful, crunchy, tuna salad that works perfectly on top of rye bread with a few slices of tomato and melted Swiss. No worries about packing in 900 calories with this one. It clocks in at a very reasonable 300 calories. I can’t wait to make this using fresh tomatoes and red peppers from my garden!

Open-Face Hummus Tuna Melt

by Cassie Johnston

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Makes: 4 servings


  • 2-5 ounce cans chunk light tuna in water, drained
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup hummus
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 heaping tablespoon sweet relish
  • Dash of curry powder
  • 4 slices rye bread
  • 8 slices tomato
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese


  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine tuna, red bell pepper, red onion, hummus, dijon, relish and curry and mix.
  3. Spoon 1/4 of the tuna salad on to each of the rye bread slices. Top each with two slices of tomato and one slice of cheese. Heat under broiler for 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted, brown and bubbly.
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Did you ever do the spring break thing? Where you go?

what i ate wednesday: tracking


Posted on Feb 22, 2012 in Food

As I said in yesterday’s post, I’m back to tracking my food again (at least temporarily for my nutrition class). This day of food represents by first day “back” and man, could I ever feel the difference in portion size. I was hungry all day. I’m not sure if it was physical hunger or mental hunger, but it sucked. I even got so hungry while I was on the treadmill after work that I felt like I was going to pass out. Which is ridiculous because I got plenty of calories and fuel in yesterday. I guess my body just needs to get used to eating correct portions again. It did occur to me that I’ve probably been taking in 2700-3000 calories a day between sneaks of treats and large portion sizes. Which is a lot. Even for someone of my height, weight and activity level. I have no idea if I’m gaining weight (no scale) but I do know my pants don’t feel any tighter. Although that could just be me living in happy delusion land. Anyway, I think this exercise is definitely a good refresher on how to stay the course of a healthy lifestyle. I’d hate to have to track my food for the rest of my life, but a few weeks every year might be good practice. Anyway, on to the food.


Breakfast was eaten at my soon-to-be-gone desk. As you can probably infer from the boxes, we’re moving offices temporarily while our office space is being remodeled. It’s going to suck for the next two months (I think we’re going to end up crammed in offices and conference rooms in another building) but the end result will be worth it. I’ve seen the plans for our newly-renovated space and it’s going to be beautiful. Anyway, breakfast among the boxes—a slice of super bread, a pear and a protein shake make with banana protein powder and chocolate almond milk.

589 calories, 114g carbs, 8g fat, 23g protein

Morning Snack

Ate a just-slightly unripe banana plus a packet of applesauce for snack. I went to grab regular applesauce at the store this past weekend and saw these fun gimmicky applesauce bags and couldn’t pass them up. I’m a sucker for food gimmicks. Plus, I like that I can just toss one on my bag and they’ll probably have a better fate that if I’d say, tossed an apple in my bag. The only issue? I feel like I’m sucking out of a blood bag (a la The Vampire Diaries) when I eat one.

165 calories, 42g carbs, 0g fat, 1g protein


Last week, Babyface had the genius idea to use hummus in place of mayo in tuna salad and I have been all over it! So yummy and creamy. I even doctored up some hummus tuna salad to make a recipe you’ll see later in the week. But for now, I served it on a bed of greens with a drizzle of avocado vinaigrette and some toasted almonds. On the side, I had a clementine and a vanilla Voskos. First time having Voskos. The flavor was good (I loved that you could see real vanilla been specks) but the consistency was thin like regular yogurt. One of the reasons I shell out the extra cash for Greek yogurt is the thickness. Boo. Also had a LaCroix on the side. LaCroix was on sale this week and I jumped all over a 12-pack of grapefruit and coconut. So good.

549 calories, 35g carbs, 21g fat, 21g protein

Afternoon Snack

Hummus and spelt pretzels. Not a whole lot to say about that. Other than the fact that I love Newman’s Own Spelt Pretzels.

273 calories, 37g carbs, 10g fat, 7g protein


Dinner was weird. I threw together an omelet/millet recipe. In the little cups is cooked millet, eggs, egg whites, milk, goat cheese and rosemary and I baked them all like a quiche. The end result was delicious, but weird. Alongside, I had a small pile of roasted Brussels sprouts. After dinner, I dug into a chocolate cupcake provided by my Mama this past weekend. Tracking or not, a day without chocolate is a day I don’t want to live.

520 calories, 54g carbs, 34g fat, 23g protein

The Totals

2106 calories, 282g carbs, 73g fat, 75g protein

What was the best thing you ate yesterday?

The chocolate banana protein shake was really, really good. But a cupcake will always win.